Several Centre Region organizations are focused on sustainability, local foods and energy conservation. Next weekend, State College will host a sustainability festival and energy expo intended to unite these groups to promote energy efficiency within the community with entertainment and food to boot.
The inaugural Light Step, Right Step Festival will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at the State College Municipal Building, Sidney Friedman Park and in front of Discovery Space of Central PA. South Allen Street will be closed to vehicles to provide an outdoor space for exhibits and activities hosted by 30 local organizations. Transition Town State College, a nonprofit group that is partnering with the borough in organizing the festival, will host an energy expo featuring exhibits from clean energy businesses and will help visitors learn more about energy savings and renewable energy options.
The festival is funded by a $4,725 grant from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.
Meagan Tuttle, festival co-chairwoman, who works in the boroughs planning department and serves on the sustainability committee, said that the Light Step, Right Step Festival is part of an effort to connect local nonprofit organizations to promote all the work they do, and to bridge the gap between those groups and local government.
We are definitely hoping to reach out to a broader audience in the Centre Region by making connections across the community, she said.
Joyce Eveleth, the other cochairwoman who recently completed an AmeriCorps assignment with the borough, said that the festival organizers would also like to draw a crowd that you dont normally see at an event like this.
Personally, I hope it creates a more cohesive (sustainability) movement, she said.
Tuttle and Eveleth said they hope to entice community members and other passers-by with a variety of hands-on demonstrations, entertainment, food and childrens activities. Richard Alley, host of the three-part PBS documentary Earth: The Operators Manual and author of a book of the same name, will give a keynote presentation at 11 a.m. at Schlow Centre Region Library. The presentation will focus on the history of energy use, current conditions and future energy options.
Documentaries will be shown at Schlow, including Alleys series as well as the film Carbon Nation. In addition, Penn States Center for Sustainability will offer guided tours of its MorningStar Home and Eco-Machine. The MorningStar home is an 800-square-foot, zero-energy, solar-powered home built by an interdisciplinary team of Penn State students and faculty for the 2007 Solar Decathlon.
Also, Discovery Space will offer half-price admission, and Centre Area Transporation Authority, a partner of the festival, will provide free shuttle service on its Blue Loop to the festivals exhibits.
While browsing the exhibits, attendees will be able to purchase food in Sidney Friedman Park from local businesses, such as Websters, Edenview Organics and Gemellis. They will also be treated to live music by four local bands, including the headliner act Hounds of Soul.
For more information, visit www.lightsteprightstep.org.
Stephanie Koons writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3927 or email@example.com.